Is the Apex Era Already Over? A Look at the Top 100 Teams

Over three months have passed since I last looked at the top 100 teams so, with the massive recent changes, let’s see how the top team compositions have shifted.

Firstly, a slight caveat. I took data from the 4th October, right before season reset (not ideal, I know) so consequently, 4 of the top 100 were running ‘unconventional’ teams. I ignored them and went down to 104 on the leaderboard instead. The actual title of this post should probably be ‘A Review of 100 of the Top 104 Teams’ but it’s not quite as catchy….

Some big changes have happened since June with the addition of new creatures, major balancing and the re-writing of resilient moves. Phorurex, Indotaurus, Skoonasaurus, Spinoconstrictor and Testacornibus have all enjoyed a meteoric rise as a result.

Monolorhino continues to be a staple on almost all teams (99%) with Scorpius G3 joining it as a virtual ever-present (97%). Testa and Skoona make up the rest of a ‘Big 4’ mini-league.

Another mini-league of Phorurex , Mortem and Grypo follows, meaning the top 7 creatures all appear in over two thirds of teams.

The final spot in the top 8 goes to Compsocaulus but there are another four creatures not far behind.

Compared to June, the top 8 are responsible for 634 of the top 800 team spots, which is more concentrated than the 592 from last time, suggesting less variety at the top.

No one can accuse Ludia of letting the meta go stale though. Since June, Apexes appear to be losing the battle against Uniques as the top power tier. Mortem Rex has suffered significantly with the rise of so many counters, SR3 the chief perpetrator, and previous mainstays, Hadros and Ceramagnus, are disappearing rapidly.

Tenrex is still clinging on to a few teams whilst popular June choices, Tryko, Geminititan and Smilonemys are now almost extinct in the wild.

Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that so much has changed without an accompanying boost reset, so the reality is many teams exist as a hangover from previous metas.

What trends do you see taking shape in the next few months? Will a boost reset help to increase variety or further concentrate the most popular dinos?

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I hope there is no boost reset, my friend saw a max testa fully boosted, it destroyed its team

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Still don’t understand that some people are saying that the nerf for Cera and Hadros were “just right”… Goodbye Apexes, we will have to change your name soon!

That being said: Thanks for an awesome job, Elephant_of_Surprise!

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Well, it’s going to be quite interesting to see what ideas Ludia has to keep people motivated to raid now that unique again dominate the arena and there’s a unique tournament practically every month…

Will we see apex tournaments soon? Or can they be made useful in some other form or fashion? Or will they just ignore it and continue with the bait-and-switch games with new uniques until they’ve fully eroded the player base? Haha, I guess we all know the answer.

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Thanks, glad you found it useful!

Personally, I’m of the opinion that apex shouldn’t be as good as the very hardest-to-unlock uniques so was happy with the nerfs to Cera and Hadros.

Yes they are not at the absolute top any more, but for lower down the leaderboard they are still really strong, particularly as they allow players to unlock (at lv26) and level them in conjunction with focusing sanctuary grinding elsewhere.

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Yes, because it’s not all the players who can switch them to better dinos while boosting them as well, so they do the job for now, for them. I would be curious to see what would happen after a boost reset… (though some players who woke up late in the game, and just recently level them up may start using them I guess) Testa, Skoona, Scorpius, Phoru are a dime a dozen in the Spheres or the Beach, but sure enough, in the lower arena, I’m guessing the Apexes ares still good if those are not seen as often…

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I don’t know, Mortem, Magnus, and Hadros, and Gorgotrebax are all still up there. They could be higher, but I wouldn’t say the Apex Era is over. It’s honestly refreshing to not see Hadros and Magnus on every team (unfortunately they’ve been replaced by Monolorhino). And everything above them is either arguably OP (Mrhino, SR3, Testa, Skoona, Phorurex, CompC, Indotaurus) or one of their key counters (Grypolith, Spinoconstrictor). I’m not sure if Monolorhino itself is OP, it just happens to be the best swap in attacker in the game rn, and most teams run at least one of these so it gets used a lot. This supports what I’ve been saying all along, that the Apexes aren’t worse than uniques as a whole, only that a handful of particularly overtuned uniques are dominating the meta and should be brought down a peg. Once they are though, the Apexes look like they’re right where they should be. As far as the Apexes fell, uniques like Tenontorex, Geminititan, Smilonemys, Trykosaurus, and Erlikospyx fell even further, and are still being outcompeted by the Apexes themselves (as they should be). It’s those few powerful uniques that are actually more out of balance with the rest of the game. I’d be curious to see what happens after a boost reset though.

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Let say there’s no nerfs, then it would be like the usual:

Those who plan way ahead, would put Mrhino, SR3, Testa, Skoona, Phorurex, CompC, Indotaurus, Grypolith and Spinoconstrictor in their team, no matter what level they are. They would suffer for many weeks, while they are levelling them up, and then enjoy only about one week of pure fun because those who didn’t do that, would simply ask for a boost reset as soon as they start getting crushed…

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I agree. A boost reset would likely see a major consolidation lower down to similar creatures from the top 100. I don’t think either Cera or Hadros are weak though, especially Cera which I see a lot of in Shores.

I’d drop cera and hadros pretty easily with a boost reset. Same with smilon. 4 of my team gets replaced with new stuff. Skoona, phorurex, and indotaurus are obvious choices for me. Not really a fan of testa, may bring up one of its counters instead.

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Same… There’s so many better dinos I would like to add in my team right now! Need to free some spots for them…

Thats the thing though, I just demonstrate that the problem wasn’t the Apexes being nerfed too hard, but getting replaced because these options were made too strong. Magnus gets outclassed by Mrhino and Phorurex. Hadros gets outclassed by Testa and Skoona. Once the uniques are nerfed everything will be in order again (basically chopping off the top of the chart and putting it below Hadros). I don’t even think Spinoconstrictor and Grypolith need nerfing, they just go with the others as their counters. Mrhino is probably fine too, just give Magnus a small buff to outclass it again. Unfortunately that means that people may want to drop some of those uniques (especially if Ludia pulls a Ludia and goes too far with the nerfs), but THAT’S what boost resets are for, not as a crutch for when you’re getting beaten.

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Yep, when there is a significantly better option, that’s what you go with to eb competitive. Cera and hadros currently don’t stand up to their counterparts, so why use them other than you have sunk lots of boosts into them.

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Personally, I’m glad to see that currently only one swapper is at the top. Doing this would mean that two swappers would be at the top. I’m not too crazy about the swapping concept since the start. Took me forever to join the trend. Glad that the Rat family is not showing up there anymore, and still not sure I want to see two swappers in the top 10. That being said, with the like of Testa, Phorurex, etc that came out recently, I guess they are here to stay :slight_smile:

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That’s a good point actually. To me the entire concept of swappers is fundamentally flawed because there’s no counterplay. Swap In Stunning Strike is basically an attack with super priority that your opponent has no idea if or when you will use. You know for certain exactly which abilities your opponent has access to at any given time and can plan around them - except for swap in attacks. The only counterplay is constantly running anti-swap dinos to keep your opponent from swapping at all, whether or not they actually have one of these dinos to swap to. Just the possibility of your opponent pulling out a surprise Mrhino or Phorurex affects how you play every match in the game - so it’s best to back up that threat and actually have one. No dino should be that influential.

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Apologies for going a bit off topic, but to address swapping as a whole, I would do one of these options:

  1. Let opponents see the entire enemy team from the start of every match. That way you have access to all the information about what your opponent can do and plan around that. The downside of this is more people would quit once they see they’re outmatched, so it probably isn’t the best option.

  2. Give swap in attacks normal priority. That way their strength draws from their surprise element, not their ultra-level priority. This would mostly affect damaging swap ins. Non-damaging swap in abilities could be given priority separately, since these are relatively balanced. They either help guarantee a safer swap (SI Dodge, SI Invincibility, SI Distraction, SI Stun) but do no damage, or provide a lasting buff or debuff at the cost of taking damage (SI Slow, SI Ferocity), both of which already have enough of a downside to them. But this way you couldn’t pull out a free swap in Stunning Strike out of nowhere to blindside your opponent without them having the chance to use Distraction, shields, dodge, etc. to protect themselves if they’re faster. This also gives you more of a reason to invest in swappers speed stats, so they have a more even boost distribution. The only downside is that this removes counterplay for moves like Instant Rampage, so that should be considered.

Hopefully something like this would make those top-tier swappers like Mrhino, Phorurex, and even Magnus easier to balance by not having so much of their power concentrated in one move. In exchange for these nerfs, they could buff swapping by letting you choose which dino to swap to after an automatic swap. That way you don’t need to rely on RNG as much to make these strategies work in a swapping team. Simply getting a dino on your team should be enough, you shouldn’t need to also draw your team in a specific order too.

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Good maybe we can get rid of the unique and legendary tournaments every month and go back to how it was last year.

These are good ideas. I also remember someone mentioning something along the lines of Yu-Gi-Oh! trap cards - where any trap (swap-in) move is made known, but not shown.

It’s crazy how many people swap in on my dino, even though they’re faster and would otherwise KO my dino, just in case I have a swap-in critter on my team. That’s why I plan to have Phorurex - I now want a team full of mostly On Escape dinos, but again, there’s a distinct lack of them overall.

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That might work, kinda like my first suggestion but with less information. But if they don’t show you which swap in move it is, you’re always going to assume the worst. It doesn’t matter if the opponent actually just has swap in Ferocity, I’m always going to assume they have a swap in Stunning Strike or swap in Savagery waiting on the bench. So these swap in attackers would still hold great influence over the meta. They couldn’t show the swap in move itself, because then you can probably deduce exactly what they have, which you can’t do that for most dinos. Maybe that’s a fair downside though? The way to make that more even would be to reveal every dino on the opponent’s team, swap ins and normal dinos alike, which is how I arrived at my first suggestion.

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Going off of Yu-Gi-Oh, there is another way they could handle that. Swap in attacks are basically instant spell cards - having ultimate priority and being unknown until they’re used. The way Yu-Gi-Oh balances this is with trap cards that activate upon a spell card being played, having higher priority over the spell cards - but ONLY those spell cards. For the JWA equivalent, they could create abilities that act like on Escape, but who’s effects affect the dino that swaps in, not the one that swaps out, and have priority over all swap in attacks. Otherwise, the ability has no influence. So you could have something like “on swap in distraction” that reduces the swap in dino’s attack stat 100% before they get the chance to attack you, or puts up dodge or a shield, or rends some percentage of the swappers HP. I was hoping this is what Alert moves were going to be. The main downside of this approach is that it’s mostly limited to only the dinos that have these abilities, so only these particular dinos see any real benefit or increased play - it may not entirely translate to most of the roster (kind of like how on escape moves are now).

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